The Sustainable Garden

Many Portland area gardeners are focusing on sustainable gardening practices. This is nothing new, but what does it really mean to gardeners and garden design?

Photo: Jamie Coughlin

I want to install a rain capture system for about a quarter of my roof. Even though it’s not enough to water my entire yard for our dry summers, it will help keep a significant portion of the rain water from my roof on site, which is a tenet of permaculture practices. It also helps the city’s sewer system (and my water bill).

The January issue of Portland Monthly offers a short piece on downspout design and photos of creative downspout design that I though might interest you. The photos make me want to take up welding so that I could create a functional downspout art piece. I do have a copper rain chain (simple circular links) that empties into a rustic ceramic planter filled with aqua-colored glass slag. I’m pretty happy with it.

Downspouts and rain gardens aren’t the only things we need to consider for the sustainable garden. We need to be realistic about what we can do or we just might not do anything.

I was happy to hear that Cole Burrell will be speaking on the magic or myth of sustainable gardening at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show on Sat., February 19 from 2-3pm. I heard him talk about this very thing at the Perennial Plant Association’s annual conference in Portland last year and believe his approach is spot on. He’ll touch on how gardening practices impact the environment and the difference we can make by the way we approach garden design, planting and maintenance. And perhaps most importantly, how our approach fits within the larger regional habitat system.

Yard, Garden & Patio show seminars are free. Attending is a great way to become informed and inspired!